KINLOCH, Mo. – Arlyda Bufford, a firefighter with the Kinloch Fire Protection District, had just finished an EMT training class Monday before going to eat at the Applebee’s restaurant in St. Johns.
Bufford was with other first responders Monday night when a gunman opened fire around 9:20 p.m. The suspect targeted two women sitting at a different table, killing one and wounding another, who is expected to survive.
The gunman then walked across the restaurant and shot Bufford. One of her coworkers sprang into action, saving her life as she was rushed to the hospital.
“She is a fighter. She is doing the best she can right now,” said Kinloch Fire Chief Kevin Stewart. “Hopeful she pulls through this thing.”
“My heart goes out to those families as well. This is a tragic situation. Anytime anyone loses a life and the manner in which a young lady lost her life, it’s a horrible incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”
Bufford was featured in a TikTok video in a recent firefighter social media challenge. She had been with the fire district for 8 months and graduated basic training a couple a months ago.
Bufford is in process of completing her EMT training so she can obtain her Missouri EMT license.
Chief Stewart said he was shocked to learn Bufford had been shot.
First responders said Bufford loves being a firefighter and has a promising career ahead of her.
“Anything we need, we all come together as a family,” said Assistant Fire Chief Edward Daren.
Bufford remains in critical condition at a local hospital.
Meanwhile, the accused shooter, 28-year-old Courtney Demond Washington, was charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, and three counts of armed criminal action.